Whirlpool Galaxy

Designation: M51 / NGC 5194
Hemisphere: Northern
Constellation: Canes Venatici
Distance: 31 million light years
Object type: Grand-design spiral galaxy


The Whirlpool Galaxy is a grand-design spiral galaxy located 31 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici. It was discovered in 1773 by Charles Messier who inserted in his famous catalogue as object 51. Other than its iconic shape, M51 is also famous as the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy.

The winding arms are lanes of stars and gas laced with dust where clusters of new stars are born. The spiral arms are believed to be so prominent due to the interaction with the galaxy NGC 5195, the small, yellowish galaxy at the outermost tip of one of the arms.

In this image I also captured a bunch of smaller galaxies, like the elliptical galaxy NGC 5198 or the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 5229. Click on the image below to see them all.


Mount: Sky-watcher HEQ5-Pro
Main Telescope: William Optics ZS73EDii
Main camera: ZWO ASI294MC-Pro
Main camera filters: Optolong L-Pro + Optolong UV/IR Cut
Guidescope: AstroEssential 50/200
Guide camera: ZWO ASI174MM
Guide camera filter: Astronomik UV/IR cut

Acquisition details

Total integration time: 19 hours
Acquisition: ZWO AsiAir Plus
Processing: PixInsight
Locations: France and Luxembourg

Where the universe begins…